President Trump paid $38 million in taxes in 2005 on an income of more than $150 million, a senior White House official confirmed Tuesday night.
That rare acknowledgement came in anticipation of a report by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who purported to have copies of Trump’s tax returns from 11 years ago. The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive financial matter.
Trump defied decades of tradition during the 2016 presidential campaign in refusing to voluntarily release his tax returns, which would shed light on the size and breadth of a sprawling real estate and entertainment empire he says is worth $10 billion.
Maddow said she had two pages of Trump’s Form 1040 from 2005, which she obtained from financial journalist and Trump biographer David Cay Johnston. “I got them in the mail. They came in over the transom,” he told Maddow. It is illegal for the Internal Revenue Service to disclose a taxpayer’s returns, but the First Amendment protects journalists who disclose tax information they obtain from an outside source.
Trump’s joint tax return with his third wife, Melania — their first after getting married in January 2005 — shows earned income of just $998,599. Most of the Trumps’ income instead came from investments, including $67.8 million in rents and royalties, $42.4 million in business income, $32.2 million in capital gains and $9.4 million in interest.
More than 1 million people have signed a petition on the White House website calling on Trump to release his tax returns. But Trump has been dismissive of the issue, saying in early January that “the only ones who care about tax returns are reporters.”